Data Queen
by Adam Ashraf Elsayigh

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Adam Ashraf





Lebanese Gen-Z partyboy Sam is in hot water with his older, tamer, White boyfriend Joel. But let’s be real – Joel brought this on himself by snooping and finding Sam’s Fuck Form full of all the raunchy deets of Sam’s latest escapades. So here they are, hashing it out at San Francisco’s hottest new couples therapy practice, ODYSSEY. Can Sam and Joel salvage their relationship with the help of their overwhelmed but well-meaning counselor, Sharon… or is their partnership destined to crash and burn?



Cairo-born and Dubai-raised, Adam Ashraf Elsayigh’s childhood entwined a Muslim Egyptian home, American cable and British schooling in a migrant-majority city. This upbringing at the cross-section of cultures is at the core of the stage and teleplays Adam writes today, which dramatize modern people navigating themes of queerness, labor and class across borders, all with a pinch of comedic camp. Adam’s writing (Alaa: A Family Trilogy, Drowning in Cairo, Memorial, Revelation) has been developed and seen across four continents, including at the Sundance Theater Labs, New York Theater Workshop, The Lark, The Tisch School of the Arts, The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and Golden Thread Productions. Adam is an Alliance/Kendeda Award Finalist and Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics Alum Fellow. He holds a BA in Theater and Dramaturgy from NYU Abu Dhabi and an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College.




When did you start writing plays? If you had a moment where you realized you wanted to write, what was it?

I started writing plays in middle school before realizing what they really were. It’s evolved significantly ever since, of course, but the driving impulse remains the same – to create a counter-narrative to what I see in the world around me. And also to find wonder, levity and comedy of humans who typically wouldn’t interact coming into contact with each other.


How did you come to write your OOB play? Was there a particular inspiration behind its creation? How has it developed?

My project was first developed to submit to Golden Thread Productions’ Re-Orient for New Plays by Middle Eastern Writers, where it had a production in October 2023. I was inspired by my own fascination in the assumptions and triggers that would get activated in my own relationships with white gay men, particularly of an intergenerational nature, and how that gaze placed from the outside world often soured the relationship, asking me to beg the question of the functionality of relationships with a major power imbalance in a context like this.


What are five words that describe who you are as a playwright?

Global, shocking, irreverent, historical, comedic, tone-bending.


What/who are some of the major influences on your writing?

Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage, Mona Mansour, Brian Friel, Yael Farber, Nehad Selaiha, Branden Jacob Jenkins, Sam Hunter, Russel T. Davies.


What’s one fact someone would never guess about you?

I knew about a third of the Quran by heart growing up (and have forgotten most of it in the years since).


What are some of your favorite plays?

Angels in America, The Vagrant Trilogy, Translations, Greater Clements.


Any new projects you’re working on or shameless plugs?

Yes! I’m currently developing a trilogy about the life of Egyptian political prisoner, Alaa Abd El-Fattah, who remains unlawfully imprisoned in Egypt’s prisons to this day. Juxtaposing physical storytelling and projections with Alaa’s testimonials and interviews I conducted with his family matriarchs, ALAA: A Family Trilogy is a historical epic dramatizing the Egyptian Revolution and the military coup that followed, through the life of Egypt’s most prolific political prisoner and the family he came from.

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